Vibrators today go hand in hand with masturbation and sexuality. They certainly have come along way. The first electro-mechanical vibrator was invented by British physician Joseph Mortimer Granville in the late 1870s as a medical device primarily for men and their ailing muscles.
By the early 20th century, manufacturers such as Hamilton Beach were selling vibrators as the new shiny electric household appliance everyone had to have. Good Housekeeping even gave its seal of approval on some models in the 1950s. By the time the sexual revolution hit in the 1960s vibrators were largely forgotten appliances.
In the 1970s the vibrator was transformed from a relic of bygone domestic life to a tool of sexual liberation. Vibrators changed “feelings of guilt about masturbation to feelings of celebration so that masturbation became an act of self-love”, as noted by Betty Dodson in her book Liberating Masturbation: A Meditation on Selflove (’74).
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